God's good gift
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
- Ephesians 2:8-9
Salvation is a gift, not a payment for services rendered.
An old theologian once said that we contribute nothing to our salvation except the sin that makes it necessary. This truth can prove very difficult to accept. Here are three reasons it’s important to accept salvation as a free gift …
1) We can never earn it ourselves. Sin has racked up a deep debt for us. Good works can’t pay off that debt because every good work we do is a good work we’re supposed to do. You don’t get extra credit for doing what you’re supposed to do!
2) You have to receive grace to become gracious. Receiving salvation as a gift of grace humbles us. Someone else did all the heavy lifting. There’s no room for our boasting, as Paul says. We are better able to show love, kindness and compassion to others when we’ve received the same from God.
3) You can offer it to others. If you have to earn salvation, the best you could do for others is to tell them go get to work. Perhaps you could give them some coaching. But you’d have nothing of substance to offer them. In Christ, however, everything you’ve received is immediately available to them if they will respond to God’s grace with faith. The good news of God’s grace is much better news than the bitter lie that we’ve got to earn our place in God’s family.
We can think of a dozen other reasons it’s important to receive salvation as a free gift: the impact on our view of God, confidence for the future, freedom from legalism, a hedge against ethnocentric pride, the deepening of relationship with the gift-giver, etc.
We want to invite you to join us in this reflection.
Why do you think it might be important, helpful or meaningful to receive salvation as a gift?